Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anniversary


 

Chup here - When I was 15, my half sister Me'chelle came to live with us.  Shelley was my dad's only child from his first marriage, and just about three years older than me.  She had lived most of her life -visiting occasionally- in a small town about 30 minutes away.

Though irregular, her weekend visits were always, always fun.  It's like she'd just jump back in to the family, and we'd play games or talk or jump on the trampoline or watch movies with a huge bowl of air-popped.

Shelley was obsessed with this ESP game where we'd sit forever concentrating on a picture we'd drawn or just something in our heads.  We'd stare intently at each other, trying not to laugh, and then (no hints!) confidently pronounce the object the other was thinking of.

"Steering wheel!"
"No."

Pause.

"Duck!"
"No."

Pause...

 "Refrigerator"
"No."

Paaause...

"Three of clubs.."
"No....What?"

"Three of....."

And we'd laugh until it hurt and then we'd try again. In earnest. 

Sometimes we'd get close.

Me:  "Corn."
Her:  "No! but ohmigosh, I WAS thinking about a train.  You know, that train that runs on the track by the Green Giant factory.  You know!  Green Giant...CORN!"

Encouraged, we'd keep at it for hours.

Shelley taught me how to put cereal and milk in a ziploc bag for a portable breakfast.

She showed me how to strain orange juice through a paper towel to get rid of every last bit of pulp.

 
When she graduated high school, Shelley came to CSI (the junior college in town) and moved in with us.

And I got the big sister I never had.

Before, she was just visiting.  We had a ton of fun, but now...NOW she was my sister.

And that was awesome.

She was my own personal oracle into the two mysteries that consumed nearly 95% of my cognitive expenditures in high school.

My hair.

And girls.

Shelley was an expert with both.

Since her mother Lucy was a hairdresser, Shelley was magic with mousse and a hair dryer.  It was the 80's, and she perfected my "short on one side, long on the other, flip it out of your eyes every few seconds" thing.

We'd talk for hours about Tiffany or Laura or Julienne.  Shelley would build my confidence, give me advice, soothe my wounds.

She was my big sister.


On August 10, 1987, I was at my best friend Jason's house building hobby-grade rubber-band powered airplanes.  The kind you heat-shrink the wing covering on.

The phone rang, and Jason handed it to me with a funny look on his face.

I could tell my mom had been crying and she said:

"Your sister has been in a car accident.  She's in a helicopter on her way to Boise."



Shelley's funeral was five days later.

I remember riding in the limo to the cemetery.  Everyone was crying.  My Mom, my little brother and sister and my poor, poor Dad.

I was sitting next to Andy O'Crowley, Shelley's boyfriend.  They had been days away from being engaged.

And I remember feeling strange...like I should be crying, but I just didn't...feel like it.

Then I noticed Andy wasn't either, and he said;

"I'm just a little bit jealous of her, and where she gets to be right now."

And I nodded, because that's exactly how I felt. Today -23 years later- I still do.  

Her ESP is probably awesome.

Miss you Shelley.